How to Make a Good Impression

Knowing how to make a good first impression can help you in many situations. Maybe you have a job interview coming up. You could be going on a first date. Starting a new job. Or, you might want to make a good impression at a business meeting.

Whatever your reason, knowing how to make a good first impression can help you achieve great things.

Think about it. First impressions count. Get it wrong and you’ll find yourself working twice as hard to establish a relationship.

However, if you get it right the first time you are on to a winner.

In this guide, I’m going to tell you how to make a good first impression every time you meet someone new. We will cover topics such as:

  • body language
  • things to say
  • what to wear
  • all-important greeting
  • even more important follow-up

More importantly, we’ll help your business make a good first impression. Exhibiting at trade shows is a fantastic marketing strategy for small businesses. These events put your business in front of thousands of highly-targeted leads so you want to make sure you’re getting this right.

Why it is Important to Make a Good First Impression

It is important to make a good first impression because, in a business sense, prospects make up their mind in the first 4 seconds of an interaction.

Let’s start with the obvious point. A bad first impression can cost you money. If you fail at the first hurdle, you may never get a second chance to build the relationship that is crucial to doing business.

Simply forgetting someone’s name, looking bored or avoiding eye contact can cost you a deal. With such a saturated market, your competitors will always be ready to jump in your grave.

On the other hand, a good first impression increases your chance of developing a strong relationship. If a customer feels they can trust you, relate to you and be friends with you they may as well have already signed the deal.

Take my word for it. You will get more customer, close more deals and your business will grow if you always make a good first impression.

8 Tips to Help You Make a Good First Impression

It’s easy to make a good first impression when you know how. The tips in this guide will make sure you do that. If you have an exhibition coming up then you have to read this!

The things that you’ll learn in this guide will help you close deals. Even the best sales pitch in the world can’t help you if you haven’t made a good first impression.

Having spent years perfecting our face-to-face marketing strategies, we’ve decided to share our expertise with you. These tips teach you how to make a good first impression in an exhibition hall, but as we’re all aware, the skills that you’ll learn are 100% transferable.

Be Engaging

Rule number one don’t talk about yourself. Everyone loves talking about themselves. Or their business. Or how amazing they are. Unfortunately, that is an easy way to bore other people to death.

To make sure that you make a good first impression, ask your companion questions about themselves and their business. It sounds obvious, but we’ve attended hundreds of trade shows where sales representatives leech onto us and go on about themselves for half an hour.

In a business sense, the ‘asking questions’ rule of thumb seems to be non-existent.

Ask questions about their problems and tell them how your business can help them solve it. Find out information about their personal life to find things that you have in common. Engage in conversation. Don’t talk at them.

Prepare Talking Points

You don’t want your first interaction to sound rehearsed, but to make a good first impression you must be confident in what you are saying. Think about things that you can talk about beforehand to avoid any awkward silences.

If you have an exhibition coming up think of something that your company has done recently, that isn’t product related. You don’t need to sell, sell, sell. Maybe you sponsored an event or got a new office pet.

These light-hearted topics will show people that you are human. This helps develop trust and build relationships. And, more importantly, you’ll make a good first impression.

large exhibition stand with product display shelving

Unique Design Features

At an exhibition, the first thing people will notice about you is your exhibition stand. You don’t want to blend in with the crowd. You want to stand out and be noticed.

Including some unique design features on your stand can help you do that. We are the exclusive providers of the Prestige Events System in the UK. Over the years, we have developed loads of unique design features to help you make a good first impression.

Our photo-floors offer a unique branding opportunity and make sure you stand out against the boring trade show carpet. High-level branding lets you dominate the exhibition hall and be seen from all the aisles. Back lit panels, custom cut apertures, rotating headers and double-height showcases all make people stop in their tracks.

It is possible to have all of these features on a custom modular stand. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a custom build exhibition stand to make a good first impression.

All of our stands are available as rental exhibits, or you could choose to purchase one. Making a good first impression at an exhibition has never been so cost-effective.

Authoritative Body Language

It’s important to be open and come across as friendly before a word has left your lips. That’s why your body language is so important.

In a business environment, such as an exhibition, authoritative body language is useful to build a trusted and established relationship. Whenever you are in a situation that requires you to persuade someone of something, it is good to show confidence.

Avoid crossing your arms, fake smiling, arching your shoulders or closing your legs. Expansive postures demonstrate leadership and authority. Be open and inviting to create a good first impression.

It will help if you can read body language cues as well.

How to Read Body Language

Noticing signals that a conversation isn’t going well early on can help you adjust your approach and rescue your first impression.

Look out for raised eyebrows or shaking legs as these suggest an individual is feeling uncomfortable. Crossed legs or arms are a sign of resistance and suggest the individual has low receptivity. Eye contact is good, but if it continues for too long the individual may be lying. And look out for creases around the eyes when they smile – a lack of crinkles means it is probably a fake smile.

Keep an ear on their tone of voice for confirmation of your first impression. If it goes up and down, they are probably interested. You can also look for mirrored body language. If they appear to be copying you, it is going well. Finally, if they are laughing with you they’re probably going to close the deal.

Friendly Greeting

The initial greeting is key to a good first impression. Always introduce yourself using your first and last name. When they tell you their name, you should try to repeat it back to them.

“Hi, I’m Bob Jones, Head of Sales, nice to meet you”

“Hi Bob, Dave Smith, how are things?”

“Great thanks Dave, what brings you over to our exhibition stand today?”

Not only does this help you remember their name but also it shows that you have a genuine interest in the other person.

Remember to smile, keep your body language open, maintain direct eye contact and offer a firm handshake to anyone that you are greeting.

Wear Blue

According to science, anyone hoping to make a good first impression should wear blue. Psychologist, Leslie Harrington, says that blue can lower blood pressure as it makes us feel tranquil. The colour has a calming effect, which is great in a busy exhibition hall or a high-pressure situation.

The colour also suggests that you are confident and trustworthy. Great for building relationships with new people and potential customers.

Answer the Question

If somebody asks you a question, be prepared to answer it. Don’t float around a subject without giving them a proper answer. The only way you can be sure that you can do this is to know your product inside out.

Yes, this is a lot of time and research. But if you can’t answer a question about yourself or your business then you’re going to fall on your face. Make sure you prepare yourself for anything. The consequences of giving a bad first impression aren’t worth risking it.


Finally, don’t forget the follow-up. This can be a formal call or an informal catch-up. But it’s crucial if you want to make a lasting impression.

If you have gone to the effort of studying this guide and learning how to make a good first impression, you don’t want that effort to go to waste. A follow-up conversation helps to solidify the foundations of the relationship that you have already lay.

This is particularly important from an exhibitor’s point of view.

There are over 1300 exhibitors at the International Food Exhibition 2021. That means your new contact could have met 1300 people just like you during the show. A good first impression is a great start. However, a friendly phone call will help you close the deal.

Now That You Know How to Make a Good First Impression…

What are you waiting for? Head into that job interview with your head held high and stop being nervous about that blind date. The tips you’ve learnt in this guide ensure you know how to make a good first impression.

More importantly, take these skills with you to your next exhibition. Use them as the foundation to build strong relationships, close deals and create an army of loyal, returning customers.

If you’ve got an upcoming marketing event and you want to make a good first impression, email our design team or give us a call on 01202 723 500. Exhibition stands are what we do. Don’t let yours be a flop.

Written by Natalka Antoniuk